Derby County manager Steve McClaren has been quoted by The Scottish Sun as saying that his scouts told him to go and watch Hearts quartet John Souttar, Callum Paterson, Jamie Walker and Bjorn Johnsen.
The Rams appear to be turning the corner under new boss McClaren having won each of their last four games, but Derby should still be looking to land some new signings during the January transfer window.
One particular problem position for the club is at right back, as Cyrus Christie is currently out of action through injury, and it seems that McClaren may have set his sights on a potential transfer target.
Derby manager Steve McClaren
The Edinburgh Evening News reported on Wednesday night that manager McClaren was at Tynecastle to watch Hearts beat Rangers 2-0, with Hearts right back Callum Paterson allegedly his target.
Now though, it seems that McClaren is eyeing other Hearts players too, with three stars from the Edinburgh club being eyed up by the Rams.
McClaren has been quoted by The Scottish Sun as saying that not only Paterson is on his radar, but also centre back John Souttar, winger Jamie Walker and striker Bjorn Johnsen are also being looked at as possible Derby targets, having been told to watch them all by scouts at the iPro Stadium.
Heart of Midlothian's Callum Paterson celebrates scoring
“People are talking about Paterson, but the boy Souttar at centre-back, Johnsen up front and Walker playing out wide, are there too,” said McClaren. “They are four players our scouts had said, ‘Yes, have a look at them’. So Wednesday night was a great opportunity to go up and do that. We are always on the lookout and keeping track of players, and that’s why I was there,” he added.
Centre back Souttar has starred for Hearts ever since joining from Dundee United in January of this year, and The Scottish Sun recently claimed that Aston Villa are keen to sign the Scot, who can also play in holding midfield.
Winger Walker has been on the books at Hearts since 2003, and the Edinburgh-born wide man has scored an impressive seven goals in 14 games so far this season in a superb opening to the season for the 23-year-old.
Hearts' Jamie Walker celebrates scoring
Finally, giant striker Johnsen – who stands at 6ft 5in tall – has endured a nomadic career with the likes of Louletano, Atletico CP and Litex Lovech, but he has enjoyed a decent start to life with Hearts, scoring four goals in 13 games.
New York-born hitman Johnsen, 25, appears to be one of a number of Hearts players on Derby's radar – and with the transfer window just around the corner, McClaren may be preparing moves for four Hearts stars.
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